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Prescott Valley Tribune | Prescott Valley, Arizona

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10/5/2011 10:57:00 AM
APS Smart meters creating headaches
File photo, courtesy Daily Courier
File photo, courtesy Daily Courier

Jason Soifer
Special to the Tribune

An unknown number of the smart meters Arizona Public Service workers recently installed in the tri-city area might have a flaw.

Company Spokesman Damon Gross said the manufacturer told the utility that in a test group of 12,000 installed meters, as many as 6 percent of them might have a defect impacting the meter's remote capabilities.

But Gross said he couldn't give an exact number because none of the installed meters are yet showing the flaw.

"There could be no meters impacted," he said. "And even if there are, it doesn't matter, because we would catch it."

As an example, Gross said that if someone dies or moves to another home, they close that old account. A new tenant moves in after them, but the meter won't start reading electric use.

Gross said the meter would send an automatic notification to the utility, which would trigger an APS employee to swap it out.

"It's a scenario that has absolutely no impact on our customers in any way, shape or form, and it's not even something that we've had to deal with at this time," he said.

A source with knowledge of the problematic meters who didn't want to be identified claims more than 4,200 residential and about 351 business meters have the flaw.

Gross said the manufacturer, Lester Solutions, informed the utility that the flaw is potentially in 3 to 6 percent of the meters in the test group.

"With what we know right now, we know our meters are reading accurately, we've been alerted that there is a potential issue, but we also know that if this becomes an issue for us to deal with, we're going to receive automatic notification from the meter," he said. "The burden's on us in this case and nothing for our customers to do or worry about and they should have full confidence that these meters are 100 percent accurate and working for them."

It's another hit on the meters, which continue to create unwanted controversy for the state's largest utility.

In a June Daily Courier story on the meters, Gross said that the utility wasn't offering an opt-out option.

That position is shifting.

Members of the Arizona Corporation Commission met at a special meeting earlier this month to talk about the meters after receiving numerous letters about them.

The crux of the letters, some of which are posted on the commission's website, express concerns about health worries over the radio frequencies the meters use to transmit information and questions about the information that they gather.

Out of that meeting with representatives from APS and UniSource Energy Corporation, commissioners ordered staff to craft opt-out proposals, according to Rebecca Wilder, public information officer for the commission.

"I'm not sure how it will work out exactly and it's still ongoing," she said.

Gross said the utility is working on its opt-out plan, part of which will ultimately explain any additional costs.

"What's unclear is how the cost would be distributed, whether the customer pays or whether all the customers pay," he said.

As of this moment though, someone could call to exercise the opt-out option without any additional costs, according to Gross.

"If a customer has asked us not to (install), we've respected that," he said.

Related Stories:
• County supervisors grill APS rep on smart meters

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, May 11, 2012
Article comment by: Diana Williams

Since they came and installed our smart meter (which we did not authorize) my mother's friend who stays with us, had a major heart attack and had to have open heart surgery. I personally have started having fatigue and headaches and nausea. My mother has been severly sick with flu like symptoms and constantly we are all on antibiotics for these symptoms. My sister came to stay with us also and we both have been experiencing insomnia. I am calling tomorrow to see if they will honor our opting out and have the other meter installed back. I feel like we are in a hotbed of radiation or whatever the smart meters put off (RF). All the meters in our alley were changed at the same time, but If I can get ours changed I am going door to door and request everyone in the area do the same. I also have Glaucoma and have had to have more laser treatments on my eyes and I am looking at having another major surgery or lose my eyesight because my eye pressures have suddenly become uncontrolled again. Could this be from these meters? I am going to seek the advice from all my doctors on this matter. In the meantime REVERT BACK TO THE OLD METERS!

Posted: Monday, October 10, 2011
Article comment by: Paul Goodwin

From day one, my wireless computer started acting up. I called my internet provider, Cable One, and the tech walked me through the steps of changing the channel that they use to provide my service.

Then I started watching YouTube videos about how tests have shown SEVERE physical harm from the radio waves coming from the Smart Meter. The tests showed physical harm (radiation) to humans extending throughout the room that shares the wall with the Smart Meter.

I have noticed a physical change since the Smart Meter was installed - more anxiety, and it's harder to sleep.

I, for one, would like APS to remove my Smart Meter. Let's see if they honor my request.

Paul Goodwin
Prescott Valley, AZ

Posted: Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Article comment by: William Bayze, Prescott Valley


This article expresses the direct truth about the smart meters. They're not that smart. I would like to thank the Tribune for their honesty. I personally have suffered severe AND debilitating headaches since our smart meter was installed May 24, 2011. When I spoke with a supervisor at APS today about removing the meter ASAP, she was a bit smug about it. She had to say "her smart meter does nothing to influence her health."
I was asking APS to remove the smart meter sooner than later. I explained to her that I only have these severe headaches when I am in my home and that they seem to have started recently.
The article this morning written by Jason Soifer needs to be expanded to all the unsuspecting souls who also suffer from the direct result of big business and profits. I was only asking APS to remove the meter asap and their position was APS needs a window of 5 business days. I was asking the supervisor for some consideration.
Now that I am more informed on the health issues directly related to the meters, the public needs to speak up for protection against big business otherwise profits outweigh the health and security of the general public.

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